Thursday, July 16, 2009

Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance

Hopi Katsina Ewoto
Chief of Katsinas Controls the Seasons

The Hopi word Koyaanisqatsi means, “crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living.”

It seems likely this is what happened to the Anasazi. After a millennium in the social, political and spiritual center of the entire San Juan Basin the great houses of Chaco Canyon were abandoned. No one knows what really happened but consider what we do know.

First, sophisticated architectural plans that took generations to construct in consistent precision alignment to the cardinal directions and seasonal rotations of the sun would have required both a high level of oversight and a large labor force. The great houses served as ceremonial centers to the entire region making it likely that a priestly class oversaw building construction, food production and seasonal rituals.

Then, a high arid desert culture dependent on agriculture was also dependent on rainfall and mountain snow. If the seasonal rituals were performed to induce rain for a century they worked. Then, around 1100 AD. A period of drought set in. Within fifty years the whole system collapsed, the great houses were abandoned and the people dispersed.

Undoubtedly drought would have caused the people to be discouraged and hungry. Did some form of human activity effect climate change? When the rituals performed to induce rain failed did the priests lose credibility and power? Did a state of Koyaanisqatsi cause the people to seek simpler lifestyles of greater harmony? It would seem so to me.

Earthenware Seed Jar, Anasazi Culture, 1100-1300 CE.